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Where do you find fun and food at Lake Tahoe?

Original post made by Mom, Midtown, on Jul 9, 2007

We have a family gathering soon for one week in South Lake Tahoe. There will be 6 adults and 8 kids ranging in ages from infant up to 14 years, with the grouping falling into one teen-preteen group and one kinder/preschool group.

All the kids love to spend the days at the beach, playing in the lake. But we're looking for suggestions for other activities which everyone might enjoy.

Also, in the past we've been unable to find some fun, casual, kid-friendly eating spots for breakfast or dinner. Any best-kept secrets you'd like to share?

Comments (8)

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Posted by Hiker
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 9, 2007 at 10:32 am

It sound to me like you should be having your family reunion at Disneyland. I hope you're staying at South Shore; you can spend your waking ours in the casinos. How about taking the kids for a long hike into Desolation Valley above Echo Lake and show them what real wilderness is about, it's spectacularly beautiful. Put the inder/preschooler on your back.


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Posted by Mom
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 9, 2007 at 11:28 am

Hiker, the older ones do a hike or two with some of the adults, so I appreciate the tip about Desolation Valley. None of us are big gambling fans, or fans of casinos for that matter, so any other tips would be appreciated.


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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2007 at 12:09 pm

Hiking pretty much sucks. I personally can think of nothing less fun than hiking. But to each his own.

Mom, sounds like you got a typical "holier than thou" answer from a 'hiker' who's convinced his way is the only way. I'm sure that 'hiker' either doesn't have kids or has kids who think he's a royal pain in the caboose.

(Anyone who would read Mom's post and suggest Disneyland clearly has spent too much time in the sun without a hat.)

We've been regular visitors at Tahoe for over 40 years, we also spend the few days we have there each year enjoying swimming (not boating) in the lake (and respecting nature by not violating the wilderness). I sure am glad to know that hiker and I won't be crossing paths while there.

Mom, My advice to you is that too much family togetherness can ruin an otherwise perfectly good family vacation. Give everyone some space to enjoy the trip in their own way, and make sure you get a chance to do YOUR favorite things too. No forced marches, and everything will be fine. Maybe mix it up by being willing to explore a few new beaches, or a few outdoor hikes (kid friendly, nothing extreme necessary.) Be willing to split up into smaller groups so people can do the things they enjoy most without guilt.

Try to find time for a few night time outdoor activities here and there. Star gazing or a sunset picnic at the beach might be a nice change of pace. Find a way to spend as much time outside as possible! Don't let yourself or the kids get cooped up for too long indoors. (Even if that does mean taking a few hikes here and there.)

Be yourselves, don't worry too much about finding out what everyone else in town is doing - just do your thing your way, and relax. There's no one 'right way' to be in Tahoe (despite what a few people who think they're gods gift might try tell you).


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Posted by Paul Losch
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 9, 2007 at 12:35 pm

Here are some things we have done over the years as we have been on South Shore in the summer:

--go to Angora Lake for lemonade, and a swim--I don't know if this place has been affected by the fire, there is a chance that it was, but if not, it is a great custom for people going back over 100 years

--Hike around Emerald Bay. It is flat, has camping and picnic grounds, and is a very pretty site, with a museum of sorts at the foot of the Bay. 15 minutes drive from SLT along HiWay 89

--My daughter is not a horse person, but she enjoyed going horseback riding at Tahoe with a few friends, appropriate for ages 10+, methinks. There are several places, the one we have gone to is on the Nevada side, a few miles from SLT.

--Camp Richardson has some nice old time facilities along the Lake, and can provide some enjoyment and dining for all

--Echo Lake has a water taxi. For those who don't wish to hike and enjoy Desolation Wilderness, taking a water taxi ride can provide some beautiful vistas, some of which can only be seen when in the middle of the lake. There also is a flat trail between the pick up and drop off points of the taxi, so people could take a not too difficult, 90 minute hike one direction and take the taxi the other way.

--There is some spectacular hiking all around this part of Tahoe. Conversation and comraderie are for me as much part of the attraction as the hikes themselves. They can be as difficult or easy as people choose. I hiked once for 12 hours, that was a bit excessive, we hit 2 10,000 foot peaks as a "50 years old guy" thing. But there are many more that are age, health condition and time appropriate.

--Heavenly Valley now has a nice village, if you are "inclined" to shop or do things a bit less bucolic. Some things there for the little kids to play on. Not my idea of a good time, but it draws many people.

--Rent a boat--sail boats are for rent at Fallen Leaf Lake, which can have some wind, but is spotty by day and time of day. Also can rent for water skiing there. Rent a boat on Lake Tahoe and tour around, it will give you an appreication for the size of the Lake

--Along those lines, there is a big faux paddleboat that goes around the southern part of the lake. Better for smaller children.

--There is a car museum near Tahoe City, 30-45 minutes away. Not what I like to do when in the mountains, but some people like it.

There is plenty to do to occupy one's time depending on interests. I do think it is challenging to find things that are a fit for all ages and interests, so it may make sense to divide and conquer. Just don't let the husbands go off and play golf and hit the casinos--that's what "boyz weekends" are for.


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Posted by natasha
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 10, 2007 at 7:41 am

You can also go around the lake to Truckee and float down the ricver in a dinghy. We did it when I was little. My family has been going to Fallen Leaf Lake for 31 years and that is a nice place to visit too -- it's near Camp Richardson -- there is a little nature trail with fish stream model (huge glass window into the actual stream) where you can see all sorts of things and learn about the different eco-systems. For little kids, you can also go to the historic house there and have them do activities -- my girls went to one wheret hey saw the whole house, baked the Butler's specialty
(some gooey chocolate cake thing) in the original kitchen, and learned about the history of the area. they had a GREAT time. They have also gone on a trail ride at Camp Richardson and loved it. Fallen Leaf has a nice lodge at the far end of hte lake where you can get hamburgers etc. and sit out and look at the view (though views are not lacking in Tahoe). You can also go and sit on the deck at Sunnyside -- we;ve been doing that for years so I think of it as family-friendly. I am sorry I can't remember names of anything at the moment, but there is also a hike if you go past Emerald Bay, away from South Shore, and look tothe right -- on a full-moon night it's especially wonderful to go there -- it's not a hard hike but has spectacluar waterfalls and the moonlight part of it is really amazing. We also, I'm embarrassed to admit, went to the Bonanza set and didt heir chuckwagon buffet of whatever it was called. My kids had the time of their lives driving to the top of the hill in a wagon, being set upon by a stage coach robber, etc.

Hope some of these ideas help. Have a wonderful time!


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Posted by another hiker
a resident of another community
on Jul 10, 2007 at 4:17 pm

Drive over to Virginia City with parent and he'll show you the Opera House and the old Mustang Ranch.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 12, 2007 at 6:52 pm

Take them into the woods South of Tahoe and let them see the dead and insect infested dying trees that stand waiting to help along the fire that will make the basin a dead ashpit, thanks to the Sierra Club and intervenor fund greed who oppose any forest management. Hurry, you don't have much time.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2007 at 9:55 pm

While I consider the comment above to be thread-muck, the original Mom's older sons might consider driving up to Angora Lake and hiking to the Angora Ridge. (It's a very short walk.) This is the top of Angora Fire area and they can get a good view of the burned region. In a couple of weeks, there should be some signs on new growth and it will be fascinating to observe the forest attempt to regenerate itself.


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